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Tag: Sold Out Church Conway

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Derek Jones Enters a Not Guilty Plea

michael derek jones

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Six weeks ago, I wrote a post detailing the domestic battery charges filed against Michael “Derek” Jones, pastor of Sold Out Church in Conway, Arkansas.  Jones was in court yesterday to enter a plea of not guilty. Also in attendance were Sold Out members who were there to support the previously convicted felon Jones (who is still listed as their pastor on the church’s website).

Marisa Hicks, a reporter for the Log Cabin Democrat reports:

Those who attend Sold Out Church and others who have worked alongside Lead Pastor Michael “Derek” Jones continue to support him despite criminal allegations against him.

Jones, 35, of Conway was charged with third-degree domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, following an incident reported in the early morning hours of July 13. His charges were later upgraded to second-degree battery against certain persons, a Class D felony.

Olivia Smith, a member of Sold Out Church, said that while she doesn’t know a great deal pertaining the details surrounding Jones’ charge, she continues to support her pastor.

“This man, and his family, have [b]een there for me and my family through some of the most difficult times in my life and he did it all through grace, love, and compassion,” she said, noting she’s attended the church for the past three years.

Jones stood at the back of the courtroom Monday, opening and closing the door for those entering and exiting, as he awaited Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson Jr. to call his name.

Lee D. Short stood in for Jones’ attorney, David Cannon and accompanied Jones as he entered a not guilty plea Monday morning.

“We’d like to enter a plea of not guilty and request a jury trial,” Short said.

Clawson took note of the plea and set out a Jan. 3 pretrial in Jones’ case.

Smith said it was Jones’ persistence that inspired her to keep coming back to the church.

Jones reached out to Smith when she didn’t show for service one Sunday. Smith said the gesture touched her and continues to do so.

“I have grown up in church all my life and never has a pastor done that,” she said, noting she was surprised Jones wanted to check on her well-being. “He is sincere about his faith and his mission to make Jesus known to a hurting world and develop Sold Out followers of him. He has been a father figure to my boys, a spiritual leader for myself and a true friend. I genuinely love this man and his family and believe wholeheartedly in what he stands for.”

City of Conway Chief of Staff Jack Bell said he holds a good professional relationship with Jones, who has volunteered through the Ministry Center to perform tasks around the city.

Spring Hunter, the Ministry Center’s director, said she has also grown close to Jones after working alongside him the past four years.

Hunter said Jones’ character was represented by his love for God and his passion for his family and the community and said she, also, will continue to support him despite the criminal allegations against him.

“He does his best to practice what he preaches on Sunday morning,” she said. “He reaches out to love on people regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what hardships they face. When you strive to meet people right where they are, you sometimes find yourself in some very difficult situations. We know Derek’s heart, and we will stand with him as he goes through this process.”


After learning the victim suffered an orbital fracture, which is a traumatic injury to the bone of the eye socket, prosecutors determined the misdemeanor charge would be upgraded to a felony.

“I think these charges are justified, because Mr. Jones has a history of anger management.”

Jones, who once served the Air Force and was stationed in North Carolina from 2001 to 2002, was previously sentenced to prison after he shot two people during a drunken fight. He served seven years in prison.

Because Jones went to the victim’s house after it was made known he was not welcome at the time, McCoy said Jones’ self defense argument was not genuine.

“Derek Jones went to [the victim’s] house … if he felt like he was physically threatened he has a burden on himself to remove himself from the home,” McCoy told the Log Cabin. “His claim of self defense doesn’t hold water.”

Many Sold Out Church members have openly supported Jones over Facebook.



Prosecutors drop felony charges against Jones.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Derek Jones Accused of Domestic Violence


The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Michael “Derek” Jones, pastor of Sold Out Church in Conway, Arkansas, was arrested earlier this month and charged with third-degree domestic battery.

The Log Cabin Democrat reports:

A local preacher was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of domestic battery.

Michael “Derek” Jones, of Conway, was arrested in Mayflower around 2:30 a.m. July 13 on a third-degree domestic battery charge.

Jones is the current lead pastor at the Sold Out Church, located at 701 Polk St. in Conway.

According to the church’s website, Jones has been the lead pastor at the church since January 2014.

The Log Cabin Democrat reached out to Jones for comment via phone on Thursday. However, calls went unanswered by press time.

According to court documents, Jones was ordered to have no contact with the victim following the incident.

Jones currently faces third-degree battery, which is a Class A misdemeanor. However, his case has since been sent to the Faulkner County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews confirmed Thursday the prosecutor’s office received Jones’ case file last week and would soon make a determination whether Jones’ charge should be upgraded to a felony.

Jones is set to appear in Mayflower District Court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 16 for a plea and arraignment hearing regarding the misdemeanor charge.

According to Jones’ bio on his church’s website:

Derek and Amie Jones decided to respond to God’s prompting to start a new church and called a meeting at their house on May 2, 2012. This was the culmination of a long process that had been leading to this point. For years Derek knew he had an anointing in his life to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to lead His people, but instead looked for answers in everything except Christ. He tried to run from that calling into the ministry for a very long time. Finally, after losing a child in October of 2009, he threw his hands up and boldly prayed “Whatever you have for me Lord, I’m ready.”

Derek and Amie served bi-vocationally on staff at in Conway, Arkansas, where Derek was ordained. Derek also served as the Director of Men’s Ministries for Homelessness at the Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock for 4 years, but took a leap of faith in January 2014 and became full-time at Sold Out Church as the Lead Pastor

Derek and Amie live in Conway and have a passion and love for their city. They have five children, [names removed] whom they pray in faith will rise up to be the greatest godly men and women of their generation.

Sold Out Church Facebook page.

The comments on the original article are quite interesting, yet predictable:

It’s a shame that both sides of this story is not being shared as to the what and why. Derek Jones is human, he has not placed himself upon a pedestal. He sins as we all do. If you want to know his past, ,just simply ask him and he will share it with you and he will also share his love of Jesus Christ. Pastor Derek has publicly shared his past more than once. As for me and my family we will continue to serve the Lord and continue serving at Sold Out Church. We will continue making Jesus known in a hurting world and develop SOLD OUT followers of Him.

I also am a member of Sold Out Church as is my family and Pastor Derek and his family have been nothing but real. He doesn’t claim to be or portray himself to be perfect..he after all is human. We all sin everyday whether it’s breaking the law, or not being truthful, no one sin is greater than the other. I wish you would have taken the time to give more of the facts instead of making it out to try to damage his character. The fact is he was trying to protect not only others but himself as well. We will continue to support Derek and his family and our church through this.

My family and I consider Pastor Derek Jones as a part of our family. He is human, and, yes he makes mistakes. He will openly tell anyone that there is only one perfect “being” and that is God. He has never even pretended to be perfect and he is as authentic and transparent as they come. He has never wanted to be put on a pedestal, for only one deserves that honor. We will continue to support our Pastor, Michael Derek Jones.

Mathew 7:1-5 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

And finally, one comment that suggests there is more to this story:

It is very important to note that this is not the first time that Michael Derek Jones has been in trouble with the law for violence. He has previously served time for a violent offense.

All of the cult like supporters of Michael Derek Jones are basing their opinions on what they were TOLD by MICHAEL DEREK JONES.

The TRUTH will come out in court.

For those of you who are claiming self defense, a normal person, in a reasonable state of mind, should retreat if they feel threatened, especially if they are at a house where they were not invited to.

The medical records and photos of the victims face will provide clear evidence that this was not a case of self defense. It was a violent beating. How does Michael Derek Jone’s face look in the mug shot? Does he look injured?

What is truly sad is that one of the cult like supporters of Michael Derek Jones called DHS and made false accusations against the victim. DHS went to the victim’s house, and after seeing the wounds and swelling on the victim’s face, interviewing the victim’s daughter, and inspecting the home, immediately concluded that the report was unsubstantiated and only a clear attempt to smear the victim. DHS left the victim’s house after only 10 minutes or so. Shame on you.

For the cult like supporter quoting scripture, you left out Matthew chapter 5 verse 39.
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

The thing that the cult like supporters of this man need to realize, is that he came up with a story to try to make himself not look responsible. When the truth comes out in court, his story will not matter. The facts are what matter.

I do feel sorry for the members of Sold Out Church. You are having to accept some facts that are not easy to accept.

And I feel sorry for the family of Michael Derek Jones.

I hope that all of the truth comes out in court and that justice is served.

In 2014, The Arkansas Online ran a feature story about Jones. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say:

Derek Jones of Conway said he knew when he was 8 years old that he was called to the ministry, but he went astray for years before accepting the call.

His passion reignited, the now 32-year-old started Sold Out Church about two years ago with approximately 30 people in his living room, and on Mother’s Day, May 11, the church will hold a grand opening in its renovated building at 1015 Lincoln St. in Conway.

“We don’t believe the church is a building; we believe we are the church. We’re here for the world,” he said.

The flier for the church uses the saying: “This ain’t your momma’s church.”

Jones said he grew up in North Little Rock, the son of an alcoholic. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his father has since died.

“When I was 12, my godfather passed away,” Jones said. “I turned away, looked for answers” in unhealthy ways. “I ran into trouble. I felt Jesus had betrayed me.”

Things got much worse before they got better.

Jones served in the Air Force in 2001-2002, stationed in North Carolina, but after a drunken fight, he shot two people and went to prison.

“My whole congregation knows about it; I never hide anything,” he said. “I truly believe I’m a testament to what happens when you encounter a holy God,” Jones said.

“I went to a party one night; things went really bad. Me and a guy got into a fight,” Jones said. “He threw a cinder block through my windshield.” Another individual was involved, too, Jones said. “I decided I was going to go back with a gun and make them give me money and make them pay for it.

“I did shoot two people. They did not die; I did not kill them.”

One man was treated and released for a “flesh wound,” Jones said. The other was seriously injured.

Jones said he didn’t immediately become a Christian while in prison. He said he saw people come into prison, “walk in the door and say, ‘Oh, Jesus, save me.’ That wasn’t me.

“Somebody gave me a Bible, and that’s when everything changed.”

Jones was 21 years old. Although he started out in a North Carolina prison, he transferred to Arkansas to do his time — seven years.


“I had been clean and sober since 2002. In 2009, that’s when everything really, really changed. I realized I’m not in control.

“I threw up my hands in surrender and said, ‘Lord, you’ve been calling me for years.’ Although this makes no sense, that’s all I can lean on.”

Three days later, Jones said, his best friend called and encouraged him to apply for a job.

“He said, ‘God told me you have to know about it,’” Jones said the friend told him. The friend also had applied for the position.

Jones was working at a plumbing company at the time.

“I knew in my spirit what was taking place,” he said. “I said, ‘I’m afraid if I apply, I’m going to get it.’”

Sure enough, Jones got the job as director of the homeless ministry at Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock.

“It’s been like riding a rocket ship ever since,” Jones said.

About two years ago, he said, he started a church service in his home with around 30 people. It grew like crazy, he said. Today, there are about 100 members of Sold Out Church.

“I have experience dealing with the last, the least and the lost,” he said.

As director, he worked hand in hand with a nine-month “life-recovery” program for people at the mission who had struggled, like he had.

Jones said he was ordained through That Church, which is no longer in Conway, although its Sherwood location is thriving, he said.

“I do have a biblical degree through Andersonville Theological Seminary,” he said, which is an online program. [an unaccredited institution that some haves called a diploma mill.]

It was too hard to be a pastor and work at the mission and “do both excellently,” he said.

He resigned Jan. 3 from his job at the Union Rescue Mission and took a $23,000 pay cut to become a full-time pastor, he said.

“Four weeks after I resigned, I found out my wife was pregnant with our sixth child — Logan is with the Lord — our fifth that’s with us,” he said.

Jones said it was a surprise, albeit a happy one.

Despite the financial impact, Jones said he has no doubt that he’s where God wants him to be.

“It’s stepping out on faith,” he said.


“My background, I was baptized Baptist, … but we are not Baptist; we are nondenominational. We’re about Jesus. That’s what we’re about,” he said. “We’re a church, and we represent Jesus Christ, and that’s what we do. On our website, it says it doesn’t matter what your race, religion, sexuality, anything.

“I’m not going to tell anyone sin is OK, but we’re going to love anyone who comes through the door.”


Prosecutors drop felony charges against Jones.

Bruce Gerencser